Yolanda Cellucci FAQs
Q: Who is Yolanda Cellucci?
In 1968, entrepreneur Yolanda Cellucci entered Boston’s fashion scene and left a dazzling and indelible mark. The city’s retail fashion scene at the time was robust, so Cellucci forged a business model focused on women’s wear and self-care in a holistic, head-turning way. Her shop Yolanda’s, based in Waltham, Massachusetts, became a hotspot for lavish evening and wedding ensembles. In addition to offering high-profile American and international designs, the store provided style consultations, personal shopping, cosmetology services and a day spa with light refreshments — all under one roof. Throughout the late 20th century, Yolanda’s became a household name throughout the region and a shorthand for glitz and glamor.
Luxury cars played an important role in Yolanda’s marketing strategies. She bought an Excalibur, a car introduced in 1965 that featured designs inspired by a late 1920s Mercedes-Benz. With a vanity license plate that read “Yolanda,” the car was her “billboard on wheels.” She made it available to brides and clients for special events, and eventually added sedan and limousine versions.
Cellucci hosted fashion shows and galas benefiting charitable causes, showcasing her merchandise and raising funds for health, human services, arts and education. For more than 40 years, Yolanda’s was the place where “Where Beautiful Lifestyles Begin….”.
Q: I’m a huge fan of Yolanda Cellucci! How can I see her outfits at PEM?
In 2021, Cellucci generously donated her collection of 57 works of fashion and accessories to PEM, along with archival photographs and materials related to the legacy of Yolanda’s. PEM is honored to care for and present the Yolanda Cellucci collection. In our Fashion & Design gallery, you can experience nearly 40 acquisitions representing the vibrant and flamboyant designer collection of this Boston-based entrepreneur. From couture gowns to more affordable ready-to-wear lines for day and evening wear, Cellucci brought Bob Mackie’s legendary designs to her clients in New England. Also on view are fantastical headpieces worn by models in the shop’s fashion shows – designer Carol Salemi found inspiration in local and international landmarks and attractions like the Eiffel Tower and Boston’s Swan Boats.
Q: Why does this collection belong in a museum?
The Yolanda fashion collection and its associated archive in the Phillips Library open a window into Boston’s fashion history during the late 20th century, a time noted for flamboyant, luxurious and quickly evolving styles. The collection introduces works by several designers not previously represented in the PEM collection, including fashion legend Bob Mackie, bridal designer Monique L’huillier and pageant designer Stephen Yearick. It also introduces museum audiences to a fashion entrepreneur with a savvy approach to marketing, a full-throttle sense of style and a vision to use fashion and philanthropy to build community and social life in Boston.